Twenty four overage Indian athletes sent home from Asian Youth Games
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
August 20 - A total of 24 Indian athletes have been sent home from the Asian Youth Games here before the start of their competitions after they were found to be too old for their under 17 events.
Only participants born in January 1997 or later are eligible for the Games yet 18 athletics competitors and six weightlifters have been disqualified after it was discovered that they were born during the previous year.
Four Indian badminton players have also returned home after it was discovered that their names had not been entered by the Badminton Federation of India and that they were therefore ineligible to compete.
These scandals mark the latest setback for Indian Olympic sport after a tumultuous few months that have already seen the country suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC.)
Indians athletes were indeed only competing here as independent athletes rather than doing so under their own flag.
The track and field competitors were selected despite their age by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), although as neither the Sports Authority of India (SAI) nor the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) raised objections all three bodies are accountable.
All three, however, have refused to admit any responsibility and have blamed the embarrassment on confusion at the event - organised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) - which is for under-17s, while next year's Youth Olympics - organised by the IOC - will be for under-18s.
With the exception of one long-jumper from Myanmar, nobody else has yet fallen foul of the age rules and the Indian Sports Ministry has ordered an inquiry to discover where the blame truly lies.
The IOC suspended India for violating the Olympic Charter after Government interference as well as other suspicious practices in the IOA the election process and they are expected to still be unable to send athletes under the Indian flag at Rio 2016.
The Indian athletes who are not overage attempted to produce some sort of atonement through their performances and successes so far have included a squash gold medal for Kush Kumar and a golf silver for Manu Gandas.
June 2013: India to compete at Asian Indoor Games under Olympic Council of Asia flag
May 2013: IOC moves closer to lifting Olympic suspension on India
January 2013: IOC call for suspended India to hold elections under Olympic Charter
December 2012: India suspended from Olympics by IOC over election row